NUTRITION

Fending Off Fussy Eating With Annabel Karmel

By Annabel Karmel

Posted  February 17 2016 | 0 Shares

SHARE / LIKE

Leading children’s cookery author and food expert Annabel Karmel writes exclusively for Kids Health Australia. She tells us all about how fussy eating led her to where she is today.

I have to be honest: It’s thanks to my son’s extreme fussy eating that I’m writing this blog post today, having built a dream career in food spanning 25 years.

I’ll never forget how vulnerable I felt when he simply refused meals. Having no luck with the limited recipes and advice out there at the time, I donned my apron and set about devising my own. I spent hours, days, and weeks concocting weird and wonderful flavour combinations and testing new foods. I spent equal amounts of time wiping food off walls and scrubbing puree-laden floors, but it was working. Recipe by recipe, he began accepting new tastes. The battleground that was my kitchen table soon because a peace zone, with smiles replacing squeals.

Read: How to feed picky eaters

I ran a play group at the time, and parents were soon queuing up to discover the secret to my success. With hordes of parents using my recipes, I set about writing my first book the Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner. This book has since sold 4 million copies, and this year I’m celebrating my baby feeding bible’s 25th Anniversary (watch this space for my special Anniversary edition coming out very soon!).

So what are my guiding principles to getting fussy eaters to eat well? Truth be told, most children go through a phase of fussy eating, whether it’s picking at their food, sticking to their failsafe, or flatly refusing to join in at mealtimes. It can be a distressing and time-consuming experience for everyone.

But it’s the way that we deal with the situation that impacts their eating habits. Only giving them the foods they enjoy will only escalate their fussiness, and deprive them of the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop.

For starters, variety is important. A few ways I used to get my children to eat new foods was either by reward systems using stars on charts, or by making healthy versions of their favourites. Try making your own healthy junk food using good quality lean meat for burgers, and pita bread for pizza bases. My children loved my homemade fish fingers which were dipped in seasoned flour, beaten egg, and crushed cornflakes.

Read: 5 realistic, healthy lunch box ideas you can steal today

Without going to unnecessary lengths, try to make a child’s food not only taste good but look good, too. Make mini portions in ramekins, make chicken skewers, or thread bite-sized pieces of fruit onto a straw.

If children will not eat vegetables, create recipes that vegetables can be blended into such as a tomato and vegetable sauce for pasta or mashed potato with carrot. What children can’t see, they can’t pick out. Also, many children like eating with their fingers, so serve vegetables like whole corn on the cob or carrot and cucumber sticks.

The golden rule is to hide any frustrations, and instead give them lots of praise when they eat well or try something new. And if your child refuses to eat anything other than junk food, don’t worry. They will soon find there’s not much point making a fuss if you don’t react.

Here are some of my favourite recipes to fend off fussy eating:

1. Rice Bubble Fish Fingers with Lemon-Mayo Dip
Rice Bubble Fish Fingers for Fussy Eaters

2. Hidden Vegetable Bolognese

Kids Health Bolognese

3. Mini Vegetable Balls by Annabel Karmel

Mini Vegetable Balls by Annabel Karmel

 

Reviewed by Annabel Karmel 17 February 2016 references
  • current version

  • PEER REVIEWER

  • document id

  • next review

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

make a comment

0 comments

latest articles

view all

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED - MEET THE EXPERTS VIEW ALL

Fending Off Fussy Eating With Annabel Karmel

NUTRITION

Leading children’s cookery author and food expert Annabel Karmel writes exclusively for Kids Health Australia. She tells us all about how fussy eating led her to where she is today.

I have to be honest: It’s thanks to my son’s extreme fussy eating that I’m writing this blog post today, having built a dream career in food spanning 25 years.

I’ll never forget how vulnerable I felt when he simply refused meals. Having no luck with the limited recipes and advice out there at the time, I donned my apron and set about devising my own. I spent hours, days, and weeks concocting weird and wonderful flavour combinations and testing new foods. I spent equal amounts of time wiping food off walls and scrubbing puree-laden floors, but it was working. Recipe by recipe, he began accepting new tastes. The battleground that was my kitchen table soon because a peace zone, with smiles replacing squeals.

Read: How to feed picky eaters

I ran a play group at the time, and parents were soon queuing up to discover the secret to my success. With hordes of parents using my recipes, I set about writing my first book the Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner. This book has since sold 4 million copies, and this year I’m celebrating my baby feeding bible’s 25th Anniversary (watch this space for my special Anniversary edition coming out very soon!).

So what are my guiding principles to getting fussy eaters to eat well? Truth be told, most children go through a phase of fussy eating, whether it’s picking at their food, sticking to their failsafe, or flatly refusing to join in at mealtimes. It can be a distressing and time-consuming experience for everyone.

But it’s the way that we deal with the situation that impacts their eating habits. Only giving them the foods they enjoy will only escalate their fussiness, and deprive them of the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop.

For starters, variety is important. A few ways I used to get my children to eat new foods was either by reward systems using stars on charts, or by making healthy versions of their favourites. Try making your own healthy junk food using good quality lean meat for burgers, and pita bread for pizza bases. My children loved my homemade fish fingers which were dipped in seasoned flour, beaten egg, and crushed cornflakes.

Read: 5 realistic, healthy lunch box ideas you can steal today

Without going to unnecessary lengths, try to make a child’s food not only taste good but look good, too. Make mini portions in ramekins, make chicken skewers, or thread bite-sized pieces of fruit onto a straw.

If children will not eat vegetables, create recipes that vegetables can be blended into such as a tomato and vegetable sauce for pasta or mashed potato with carrot. What children can’t see, they can’t pick out. Also, many children like eating with their fingers, so serve vegetables like whole corn on the cob or carrot and cucumber sticks.

The golden rule is to hide any frustrations, and instead give them lots of praise when they eat well or try something new. And if your child refuses to eat anything other than junk food, don’t worry. They will soon find there’s not much point making a fuss if you don’t react.

Here are some of my favourite recipes to fend off fussy eating:

1. Rice Bubble Fish Fingers with Lemon-Mayo Dip
Rice Bubble Fish Fingers for Fussy Eaters

2. Hidden Vegetable Bolognese

Kids Health Bolognese

3. Mini Vegetable Balls by Annabel Karmel

Mini Vegetable Balls by Annabel Karmel

 

Reviewed by Lisa Kelly 17 February 2016
references
  • current version

  • PEER REVIEWER

  • Doc id

  • next review

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

make a comment

0 comments

latest articles

view more

MEET THE EXPERTS

view more